Archive of May 2011

Sat 28 May

Trespass, Rose Tremain, and E-pub travails

Some little time ago I dipped back into E-book reading determined to make my BeBook Nova (complete with wi-fi and touch screen) work as well as the Sony Ereader had for me.  More of my experiences there later....

But the book I want to try and capture my thoughts on first is "Trespass" by Rose Tremain.  It has been a couple of weeks since I finished it now, time enough to have a settled view on the memory that remains and the way it reverberates with me.  The astounding thing pulled off by the author in her inimitable style is almost to make a house one of the characters, certainly it is totemic within the plot.  I would have to imagine Rose Tremain either being very familiar with Southern Rural France or having done exte3nsive research there, the atmosphere and isolation of some parts is portrayed to great effect.

But all the things I have spoken of so far are like the flesh and clothes of the novel.  The meat and bones are the people, of course, and specifically a brother and sister.  Sketched in the background is a mother idealised by her son and who in reality her daughter had to compensate for.  The effects this had in the adult life of the protagonists are revealed slowly whilst exploring a mirrored situation with a French brother and sister, although in this case there has clearly been a greater parental abuse, but one which is only revealed in all it's horror as the story unfolds.

I am filled with admiration at the skill with which these themes are interwoven in a compelling tale, one which is begun with an incidental character and a trauma accurately painted - only now as I am writing can I see how this is like a "key" which is used to initially engage you and at the end bring together themes and paint them with colours that give one hope for the progress of humanity.

Even though I have said a great deal about the book none of this will spoil the plot or enjoyment you can get from this book - a very human piece and engaging with it.  Tragic but ultimately uplifting and all with the authority of a highly accomplished author, one of her best works I think, perhaps.

It certainly provided some compensation for the five or so hours I struggled to get it onto my BeBook... I know people rave about how easy their Kindle experiences have been, but of course with my preference for running Open Source and suchlike I have to say I have met nothing but frustration with Ebook purchasing.  The reading is great and so I shall persist, but my first Ebook to Bebook took SEVEN hours struggles (realising at the end that Windows HAS TO BE used).  The second took five, which I then thought would resolve matters since I seemed to have learned all I needed to know... and yet my third novel has just taken three hours to sort and what is more cannot be read at all on the BeBook but only on the Sony!

Enough of a rant - I must get to some fora and see what the significance and usage of the .epub and .acsm extensions is and if there is open source out there which can address this.....